College of Arts & Sciences Missouri River Institute

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About Us

Active in Research & Education

The Missouri River Institute is active in Missouri River research and education and has extensive knowledge about Missouri River Basin issues. Our location on the 59-mile segment of the Missouri National Recreational River gives us unique hands-on access to this special section of river, which creates many opportunities for outreach and education.


The MRI has its own boats and sampling equipment, and also has agreements with private landowners along the river to allow access for research and educational purposes. The MRI uses its access to the river to promote river research, educate students, and disseminate information about the Missouri River.

The MRI has access to a diversity of expertise at the University of South Dakota, including faculty specifically associated with the Institute. The Institute brings resources from the following entities at USD to Missouri River Basin projects:

  • Biology: expertise regarding riverine ecosystems, aquatic ecology and water quality, and landscape analysis.
  • Earth Science and SD Geological Survey: expertise in river geomorphology, fluvial processes, geology and sedimentation.
  • History: expertise in the cultural and political history of the Missouri River.
  • Media and Journalism: expertise in communicating the importance of environmental and water resources issues to stakeholder groups and the public, as well as increasing public understanding of science.
  • Anthropology: expertise in the cultural history and artifacts in the Missouri River Basin.
  • Chemistry: instrumentation that can be used in the analysis of water quality samples. Able to provide research in the areas of water sampling techniques and analytical chemistry.
  • School of Law: expertise in water law and policy issues in the Missouri River Basin.
  • School of Education: expertise in developing K-12 curriculum, teacher education, and education outreach.
  • School of Business: faculty that can contribute to the economic analysis of ecosystem recovery costs and sedimentation solutions.
  • Computer Science: expertise in Website design and advanced Website programming techniques.
  • MRI: graduate and undergraduate research assistants with expertise in river research activities, as well as Web and database programming.


The Missouri River Institute (MRI) is located on the University of South Dakota campus in Vermillion, SD. The MRI also maintains laboratory and classroom space at the Missouri National Recreational River Resource and Education Center at Ponca State Park.

Read more and view photos of our research, education and outreach.